What Is It That Makes Austrian Boylesque Artist Jacques Patriaque So Special?

Juste moi photo by John-Paul Bichard #bfv15 #boylesquefestivalvienna #jacquespatriaque

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It’s Jacques Patriaque’s vulnerability that makes him so appealing

Jacques Patriaque, Vienna’s famous boylesque artist, uploaded a new photograph to his Instagram account this week. A sepia photograph by photographer John-Paul Bichard of Jacques dressed in an Absolut Pride costume, face turned away from the camera and looking off into the distance. It’s a photograph that stuck in my mind. Not just because of the air of sadness it conveys but, also, because it got me thinking about why Jacques Patriaque fascinates me so much.

It eventually struck me that part of my fascination with him and, of course, his art, is part of the same fascination I have with Conchita Wurst. They both have the same amazing quality of vulnerability. A vulnerability that appears in every performance, every video, every photograph.

It’s a vulnerability that draws you to them, and makes them seem ‘not quite of this world’. The same type of vulnerability that drew millions of people to the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Edith Piaf. The same kind of vulnerability that is part of that undefinable thing we call ‘presence’.

But what’s different about Jacques Patriaque and, of course, Conchita Wurst, is instead of letting their vulnerability damage and control them, they have molded it into a strength. A strength that has enabled them to create these intriguing, complex and strong stage personas. Stage personas that are just about as far removed from the types of tragedy that befell Monroe and Piaf as you can possibly get.

And stage personas that appeal to a far broader segment of society than they might otherwise have done simply because, due to their vulnerability, we connect with them more.

Look at Jacques Patriaque’s boylesque performance on Austria’s Die Große Chance last year (see video below).

Starting with the opening interview, it’s an interesting dichotomy between the film footage of the man with the ‘Mom’ tattoo and the ‘tough guy’ image which usually comes with that kind of ink, to Jacques himself who is simply an absolute sweetheart.

Even in his performance, while artistically brilliant, on point, and funny to watch, he still exudes a sweetness and a fragility that makes his performance all that more appealing and gives him even more of a presence on that stage.

So where are my musings on Jacques Patriaque, and one of the things I find appealing about him, leading me to today? Just to a nudge to you that, if you aren’t familiar with this fascinating Austrian artist and his work or you haven’t been keeping up with what he’s been doing lately, you really should have been. As he is that special kind of artist that has something that is far above the norm.

It’s no wonder his star is rising and rising fast.

In fact, Jacques has had a fabulous year so far (new ambassador for Absolut Pride, he organized a very successful second annual Boylesque Festival Vienna, produced another wildly fabulous Imperial Madness, has appeared at boylesque/burlesque festivals all over Europe, and at various acclaimed boylesque venues in New York), and the year isn’t even half over yet.

I’m also betting the wonderful Monsieur Patriaque is only going to become more well-known as time goes on, as he really is that talented. So you might as well get to know more about him now, before everyone else is talking about this Austrian artist, and you have been left behind.

Start with the two videos below. His aforementioned TV appearance on Die Große Chance, and his new collaboration with Absolut vodka — Absolut Pride — below that.

And, if you are in Berlin on June 6th, grab tickets for his performance at Vaudeville Variety. In Munich on July 3rd and 4th you’ll find him appearing at The Filly Follies. You won’t be disappointed.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.